This review was updated in 2019. Read the updated review here!
Reviewed by: Amelia
Price (MSRP): $310
Best Use: Multi-use
Where to Buy: Cleary Bikes Website
Testing Location: Montana and Wyoming
Testing Environment: All conditions
The Cleary Hedgehog is a simple (1 speed), yet quality bike built specifically for kids. Available in six different colors, the Hedgehog has a slim saddle to prevent chafing, easy-to-use hand brakes made for small hands and weighs just 16 pounds.
We strongly believe in the investment of lightweight, quality bikes for kids and the Hedgehog did not disappoint. Even our petite 5-year-old who just moved up into the 16″ bike range is able to handle the Hedgehog successfully and skillfully. He calls it his “racing bike”.
The geometry of the Hedgehog was specifically targeted to keep an even balance between the child’s seat and handlebars with a low center of gravity. For comparison, it is more like a mountain bike geometry opposed to a “cruiser bike” for adults. While P (age 5) loves it for flat riding, he really struggles with it going up hills, especially if he is tired or not super motivated.
As you can see in the photo below, it forces him to lean quite a bit forward which pulls on core strength that he just does not have. We have had him ride it numerous times (daily for weeks) on different terrain and with the hopes of building that strength. While I think that it is something that not all kids would struggle with, we are confident that young riders are more comfortable more quickly in an upright position. The geometry on the Cleary Hedgehog is better fitted for aggressive riders.
While we still think the geometry is actually really great for trail riding especially, P definitely prefers riding a bike that has him more upright for his own comfort. We will update this post at the end of the summer after he continues to ride, grow and get stronger.
What we love:
-Super lightweight which is key for young riders
-Quality components geared at successful riding without having to “fight the bike”
-Vegan leather saddle that is smooth and plush – one of our favorites for kids’ bikes
-Easy to use handbrakes suitable for even the most petite of hands (which avoids the use of coaster brakes, which we think is a good choice)
-Protected chain to avoid clothing being caught in it
-Super easy assembly (99% assembled and videos on the Cleary Bikes site for the final touches when it arrives at your home)
What we aren’t so crazy about:
-While the geometry of the bike provides a great balance between the saddle and handlebar weight, it forces riders to lean quite far forward, putting more weight on their wrists and pressure on their back. We do believe that it gets more comfortable as core strength is built, but definitely was (and sometimes is) a deterrent for smaller or newer riders.
-No quick-release on the seat
The Bottom Line:
The Cleary Hedgehog 16″ bike is a great, lightweight bike for young riders with quality components, effective geometry and comfortable ride. While our son tends to reach for a bike that has him more upright, we think that the build of the bike fits most kids just fine.
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Cleary bikes generously provided us this gear in order to facilitate this review. However, as always, the opinions expressed here are completely and honestly our own.
© 2016, Tales of a Mountain Mama. All rights reserved. Republication, in part or entirety, requires a link back to this original post and permission from the author.
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